Panama Canal Turns 100 and Still Worth the Price of Admission

On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal was officially opened. An amazing technological achievement, the canal instantly became a wonder of the modern world.

Today, just over 100 years later, many are still awestruck by the canal – especially those who book cruise trips that take them through the locks and gates from one ocean to another. Lastdance is considering booking just such a cruise, but is seeking opinions on whether or not it’s as amazing as some make it out to be in a thread titled: What is so wonderful about a panama canal cruise?

was not really interested but did it because my father had wanted us to do it before he died…..I sort of did it for him, but was totally mesmerized by the whole thing….the locks, the ships waiting to go thru – it is totally amazing and no one can explain it to you until you see it. ~drafterdw

It is amazing to see the mechanisms still working that were built in the early 1900s. The ship is within inches of the sides and is guided through with locomotives. In one place men in a rowboat come out and hook up lines. ~HokiePoq

I am sometimes annoyingly blasé about “wonders of the world”. I often feel “Is that all there is?” Not the canal. I was IN AWE. Words fail me. No books or lecturer can really explain the hardship of the conditions the builders endured. I was dying of heat and humidity and I was just standing there, drink in hand. And the wonder of the mechanics, that 100 years later are going strong. And the TEENY TINY bit of space between the ship and the canal wall. Amazing. DO IT! ~bighairtexan

…what was unexpected to me, was how much I loved the Gatun lake part. Nobody even mentions that. We glided through silently and slowly, for quite a while saw nothing else but unspoiled tropical nature, islands, etc. Not even other craft. It was amazing. A wonderful experience to sit on the balcony with the wonderful room service brunch. It felt like I was back at a time before man. How it looked for the first explorers. ~paluni

Not everyone is quite so enthralled by the experience however. Some recommend maybe doing it once, if that:

Go if there are ports you wish to see on both sides, but not for the canal itself IMHO. Really enjoyed the stop in Cartagena however. ~seaproponent

The first lock as great,the second OK the third was a bore. ~drfun48

Still, those in favor of taking a cruise through the Panama Canal largely outnumber those who weren’t as impressed. And several also recommend reading “The Path Between the Seas” prior to taking the trip to get a primer on the history of the building of the canal and enhance the overall experience.

To me it sounds like one of those experiences that would be worth doing at least once. What do you think? Are you interested in cruising through the Panama Canal? Have you done so and, if so, what is your take on the whole thing?

Read the thread in its entirety: What is so wonderful about a panama canal cruise?

Image: “Panama Canal, Colon, Panama” by Lyn Gately. CC BY 2.0.

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